It was in 2005 that I found and joined the Tucson CSA. It was a revelation: the food was so fresh, it stayed alive in my refrigerator as long as my own homegrown produce. There were other foods to buy, such as Josh’s eggs and goat cheese from Black Mesa Ranch. When I went to the Black Mesa Ranch website, there were pictures of goats living their best lives in Snowflake Arizona. There was no goat cheese subscription in the Spring, as the goat milk was needed for the new baby goats born at that time.
As good as the goat cheese was, it was very clear that the rancher, David, was truly a confisateur at heart. Forgive the French term, but it is necessary to emphasize that this was David’s true calling; the place where his passion lay. Come November, when the goat milk was at its richest, he crafted the most exquisite caramels, truffles, fudge and chocolate bark—made with the finest Belgian chocolate, it rivaled the sweets I’d had in Europe. It was incredibly reasonably priced, because, as David said, he wanted the people of his community in Snowflake to be able to afford it.
I always bought it at the CSA when it was available and put it aside for that time when I had a house full of holiday family and friends. The chocolates were in an unassuming simple green box, which I would quietly put out in the living room after a big dinner where I’d had 8-12 guests. There were never any left the next morning. And people would ask me, “what were those chocolates we ate last night, and where did they come from?” When someone follows their passion, the result is always supreme.
Now Black Mesa Ranch is no more; they no longer raise goats. Fortunately, we at the CSA are able to get wonderful goat cheese from Fiore di Capra now. And we still get to benefit from David’s passion for candy. He now obtains his products from sources that aren’t typically local; as the Belgium chocolate never was. While it is no longer milk from his goats, it is still local goat milk, and it is still outstanding. I admire David for following his passion, and am glad we still have access to his superb chocolate creations, now sold as Epic Fine Chocolates.
You will find a variety of his creations at the Tucson CSA in The Shop from now through the holiday season. The fudge does source goat milk locally; and the Tortoises utilize Arizona pecans. They make great gifts and party contributions…if you can get them to last that long!
By Lorraine Glazar, CSA member